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Monday Message Board (on Tuesday)

January 6th, 2009

It’s (past) time once again for the Monday Message Board. As usual civilised discussion and no coarse language.

Categories: Economics - General Tags:
  1. P
    January 6th, 2009 at 16:21 | #1

    I was wanting to find out more about the Presidential Medal of Freedom. So I googled and went to the ‘Official site’. It is disconcerting to find google ads on the site of what appears to be a prestigious award by the US President.

  2. Hermit
    January 6th, 2009 at 16:27 | #2

    I wonder if the conditional decision on Gunn’s pulp mill sets the new tone for the politics of procrastination. Giving the pulp mill another two years to meet perhaps impossible criteria leaves both supporters and opponents in limbo but lets the government off the hook for now. Forestry unions however want it to go ahead with some of the stimulus money. We will see if jobs outweigh issues of principle. With climate policy nothing much seems to be happening in 2009, no ETS but a few outback solar panels will be christened with great fanfare no doubt. A decision on the lower Murray lakes has also been deferred to the too-hard basket. Come next election we might wonder what the Rudd government has actually done.

  3. mitchell porter
    January 6th, 2009 at 16:31 | #3

    P, that’s quite a discovery. And it’s surprising it’s a dot-com rather than a dot-gov.

    “The Highest Civilian Award For Distinguished Americans… Free Cursors! Click Here!”

  4. mitchell porter
    January 6th, 2009 at 16:35 | #4

    It may be that despite the banner, that is not the “official” site at all, just one which claims to be, but which is in fact just part of a webring of patriotic sites run by private individuals. But then why can’t I find a dot-gov site that’s the real thing?

  5. Alanna
    January 6th, 2009 at 18:32 | #5

    Amazing you can pre-emptively start a war in which thousands of civilians were air bombed in operation fear and loathing (or whatever the US creatively named the bombing of baghdad), promise reconstruction, allow crony companies to profit from the war at taxpayers expense, and then claim its impossible to clean up the mess, and finally give your allies and generals a medal for services to peace after the electorates overwhelmingly voted all out (strike 1, 2 qnd 3) isnt it? A meddle they cant pin on their hides.

  6. January 6th, 2009 at 21:07 | #6

    Alanna,
    Small point – GWB was not voted out as he was ineligible to run again. That said, I very much doubt whether he would have either run, or won, again.

  7. Alanna
    January 6th, 2009 at 23:10 | #7

    Andrew#6
    Point taken – republicans out. I hear old George is starting to talk about Jeb’s presidential attributes. Somehow I dont think they will be back for a while (phew) but you never know what dirty tricks they get up to with the media. After what has happened to the Kennedys, Clintons etc I dont trust the republican elite – am I allowed to say rich, aggressive, bad and mad?
    Alanna

  8. Michael of Summer Hill
    January 7th, 2009 at 11:50 | #8

    John, my understanding of the situation on the ground in Gaza suggests all Palestinian factions are now united and fighting against Israel. But had the international community acted in the past in bringing about past war criminals from ‘both sides’ to justice then the current escalation of events in the region may not have occurred. Maybe its time the UN stops pussy-footing around and issues warrants against those responsible for committing crimes against humanity. Bloody drongos.

  9. Socrates
    January 8th, 2009 at 12:27 | #9

    Michael

    I agree with your post 8 but unfortunately that suggests a motive. Hardliners on both sides would prefer continued fighting, because there is less risk of teh peaceful settlement proces which sees them lose relevance. If you are an Israeli settler in the conquered territories this whole thing is great – a polarised political situation which puts off your removal for years to come.

  10. Min
    January 8th, 2009 at 12:52 | #10

    Socrates,

    You are spot-on ont the time buyig exercise being practiced by the Israelis.

    What is more worrying is that if this matter is allowed to go any longer, as it has for over 60 years. It is quite possible for Israel to mount argument when it comes to the occupied lands and the illegal settlements on the groud of ‘a centuray’ old conflict.

    Does any one know whether the Palestinian side (s) refused for UN peace keeping force?

    Min

  11. Michael of Summer Hill
    January 8th, 2009 at 14:43 | #11

    John, if I may reply to Socrates by saying there is no excuse for any nation to commit crimes against humanity. So far the conflict has seen over 600 Palestinians killed by the IDF forces including 46 at the UNRWA schools in Jabaliya Refugee Camp, 5 killed in Gaza City’s main vegetable market, 13 Palestinians from the same family killed, Israeli Appache helicopters targeting road side medics and ambulances, and indiscriminate shelling of populated areas such as Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya, and Gaza City’s neighborhoods of Al Shajaiyeh, Al Tuffah and Zeitouna, etc. all in contravention of the Geneva Convention. For this very reason the UN must act now and stop what many are starting to view as ‘genocide’.

  12. Ubiquity
    January 8th, 2009 at 16:09 | #12

    Michael,

    Wikepidia says

    “Hamas’ charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.[5]”

    It would be fair to say that the ideologically driven Zionists and other Israelis residing in Israel may feel a “little” threatened by this and just as passionate about “their” land.

    “Crimes against Humanity” yes, but obviously both the governing bodies of these two nations feel it is worth paying this price. Please note I am not suggestng the average civilian wants this but they have no say once their power is handed to the governing bodies waging this war that will “never end”.

    On that note you can scream “crimes against humanity” but until differences are reconciled or one party is elliminated or walks a way it will never end.

    Suffice to say hypothetically as an individual with little influence over the governing bodies, if I thought my property and family was under threat, I would have three choices:

    1. seek out the threat and elliminate it,

    2. Wait an see ( if I feel confident I can defend myself )

    3. run (if I could) if I felt the cause was to costly.

    What about you Michael ?

    PS: the UN as usual will inherently fail to resolve any issue despite the polished media hype. After all the UN is a mix of retired wannabe politicians who want to impose their own values and agendas on someone elses property.

  13. Qrsan
    January 8th, 2009 at 16:54 | #13

    Only by going back to the root problem can we determine who is the offender. In 1948, groups from around the globe gathered in the middle east and killed and offloaded people living in Palestine. How can “Israel” and Hamas be equal in judgment… can the homeowner and thief be equal?

  14. Michael of Summer Hill
    January 8th, 2009 at 17:42 | #14

    John, if I may reply to Ubiquity by saying there are rules governing war and if you overstep the mark you are guilty of committing a crime as is the case currently in Gaza. Many are now aligning themselves to the more sane and moderate voice of the Independent Australian Jewish Voices in opposition to what is currently happening in Gaza.

  15. Ubiquity
    January 8th, 2009 at 17:49 | #15

    Qsran

    The “root of the problem” is a matter of perception of the history of each nation. Obviously they disagree passionately and have a messy past. So what do they do now ? Who on “earth” will adjudicate on this matter in an impartial manner ?

    The solution is a connundrum to me except that the non-violent answer lies somewhere outside the ideologies and history of the waring parties and in the resolve of the people who just want to live in peace.

  16. Ubiquity
    January 8th, 2009 at 18:15 | #16

    Michael

    Rules are great, only if they are owned and respected by all parties. This has clearly not been the case in many wars in the last sixty or so years. Rules have become a political weapon.

    A second point is if you put someone in a “corner” and they are under threat rules come second after survival.

    Lets hope the moderate Jewish parties add some sanity to the dilemma, is their a moderate Hamas party somewhere ?

  17. Qrsan
    January 8th, 2009 at 22:03 | #17

    Ubiquity

    There is no non-violent answer as history has shown. If Hamas honestly undertakes peace then Israel cannot be believed to do so due to its long term ideology that historical Israel extends to modern day Iraq. If Israel honestly undertakes peace then Hamas cannot be believed to do so because it thinks Israel is an occupier. Either party cannot accept peace due to their beliefs. There is no credibility.

    By acknowledging who is offender/occupier and who is defender/occupied at least I feel moral.

    If you say thats useless, then blogging is more useless.

  18. Ubiquity
    January 8th, 2009 at 22:40 | #18

    Qrsan

    I have to agree that their is no non-violent option with the current status quo.

    “By acknowledging who is offender/occupier and who is defender/occupied at least I feel moral.”

    As long as feeling moral dosen’t result in further loss of life thats a good start.

  19. Ian Gould
    January 8th, 2009 at 23:55 | #19

    “Only by going back to the root problem can we determine who is the offender. In 1948, groups from around the globe gathered in the middle east and killed and offloaded people living in Palestine. How can “Israel” and Hamas be equal in judgment… can the homeowner and thief be equal?”

    And in the 1920′s and 1930′s, Jews settling legally and peacefully in Palestine were attacked and killed by Palestinians.

    Long-term readers of this blog can attest that I am a trenchant critic of many aspects of Israeli policy.

    But that doesn’t mean I’m about to subscribe the convenient comfortable myth that there’s a single simple “right” side to this conflict.

    I also reject absolutely that the majority of Israeli Jews, born in the country after 1948 have any less right to live there than any Palestinian.

    I don;t accept collective guilt when its used to justify Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians, I also don’t accept it when used to justify Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians.

  20. Socrates
    January 9th, 2009 at 06:41 | #20

    Ian

    Even in the 1920s and 30s the opposite was also true. There were many different Israeli militias even then, who fought and killed palestinians, not to mention the bombing of British soldiers in the King David Hotel. There was fault on both sides. The difference is that now, since the end of the Cold War, Israel has a position of overwhelming military superiority over its neighbors, and can force a process of creeping annexation of more and more land. Israle brings more and more people in from eastern europe and Russia every year. They need more land. Israel now extends far beyond the proposed 1948 border.

  21. Michael of Summer Hill
    January 9th, 2009 at 15:17 | #21

    John, if I may reply to Socrates by saying most people are civilised and use diplomatic means in trying to resolve international disputes rather than going to war. There is something called the rule of law besides gunboat diplomacy.

  22. gerard
    January 9th, 2009 at 16:27 | #22

    the formula is no great secret:

    1967 borders, removal of West Bank settlements, an end to the blockade, compensation for refugees, and two states, equal under international law.

  23. Ian Gould
    January 9th, 2009 at 23:02 | #23

    Socrates, we seem to be saying much the same thing in different words.

    Gerard, agreed. Although I can see some benefit to the proposal (put forward by Israeli rightwingers surprisingly) to exchange some areas of the West Bank with large settler populations for some Arab-majority areas within the 1967 border of Israel.

  24. Michael of Summer Hill
    January 10th, 2009 at 12:31 | #24

    John, there seems to be momentum building in invoking the rule of law as evidence builds up against both Hamas and the Israeli government for breachs of the Geneva Convention. Recent comments made by Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights and other diplomats suggest this may not be the end of the matter. Hopefully sanity will prevail and the ‘lunatics’ responsible for war crimes are brought to the Hague.

  25. Gaz
    January 12th, 2009 at 12:28 | #25

    Not picking on Alanna here, just putting it out there for comment.

    Alanna says: “Amazing you can pre-emptively start a war in which thousands of civilians were air bombed..”

    We hear a lot of mention of civilians, or innocent civilians, or x number of people killed, “including women and children”, that sort of thing.

    I find it disturbing that this moral calculus is applied so often without, apparently, much thought.

    When did the death of a women, for example, become so much more lamntable than that of a man?

    Say, a bomb lands on a hospital in Gaza and it kills a female nurse and a male ambulance driver. Should we shed more tears for the nurse?

    And what about soldiers? Do their lives mean so little? In the latest Iraq war, there was repeated talk of “innocent civilians” being killed, but barely mention of the uncounted thousands of Iraqi conscripts.

    They had no choice (Google: Iraq conscription amputation) but to be there, virtually undefended and untrained, hopelessly armed and cowering in the desert as the unseen B-52 rained death on them.

    Let me put it this way, if Alanna had said “Amazing you can pre-emptively start a war in which thousands of Christians were air bombed..” or “Amazing you can pre-emptively start a war in which thousands of white people were air bombed..” there would rightly be uproar.

    But when the victims of mass slaughter have been forced into a uniform, it’s apparently not such a big deal.

    Why should the deliberate killing of an Iraqi conscript upset so few, while the accidental death of his sister generate almost universal wailing and gnashing of teeth?

    We should all take the time to examine how prejudices infiltrate what we say.

    Just a thought.

  26. Alanna
    January 14th, 2009 at 10:45 | #26

    Gaz – you are absolutely correct. I should have said people.

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